After four overtimes and 48 hours, the women’s basketball team could add another stat to its marathon weekend: two more Ivy League losses.
The Elis (4-17, 1-7 Ivy) continued their slide to the bottom of the Ivy League standings, losing to Princeton (8-13, 3-4) in triple overtime, 94-92, just 24 hours after falling to the University of Pennsylvania (10-10, 4-3), 71-65, in overtime.
The Bulldogs are tied with Cornell (7-14, 1-7) for the worst record in the Ancient Eight. Both losses came at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.
Trailing Princeton by 17 at halftime Saturday, the women’s basketball team could have called it a night. With this season’s surreal string of injuries and close losses — including an overtime heartbreaker the previous night — Yale’s chances for victory were slim.
But the Elis stormed back and tied the game by the end of regulation. The first overtime period could not produce a winner, and neither could the second, but in the third, the Bulldogs fell one basket shy and dropped another game in devastating fashion, 94-92.
“Our kids played with an incredible amount of determination and heart,” head coach Amy Backus said. “It was very, very disheartening, a crushing defeat. It was one of those games where you didn’t want to see either team lose, but we needed a win more than Princeton at that point.”
Clawing back from a large deficit only to fall just short again was a disillusioning experience for some players, who have begun to wonder what they have to do to get a win.
“When you get beat in these close games, and you feel you did everything you could — I mean, it’s OK one game, but when it happens again and again — it’s really hard to keep coming back and trying harder because when you try hard you risk feeling like this,” said captain Maria Smear ’03.
Against the Tigers, Christina Phillips ’04 had 28 points. Morgan Richards ’05 had 16 points and 16 rebounds, helping account for Yale’s 56-41 edge on the glass. Julie Cohen ’04 and Tory Mauseth ’05 each poured in 16 points as well.
“Christina [Phillips] was courageous,” Backus said. “She was just amazing. It was the most determined performance I’ve seen since she’s been at Yale. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Against Penn, the Bulldogs again had to overcome a halftime deficit that rendered their second half dominance futile in the end.
“With a league that is so evenly matched, with the exception of Harvard, you’ve got to make sure you’re doing all the little things for 40 minutes,” Backus said. “When you go down by 17, maybe if you played with intensity and with your backs to the wall in the first half like you do the rest of the game, you build a 10- or 12-point lead, and then a missed foul shot or a missed boxout doesn’t make the difference between winning and losing.”
Lindsay Page ’05 led the scoring against the Quakers with 15 points, but the most impressive line on the night belonged to Noel Beagle ’04, who in just 13 minutes grabbed 10 rebounds — seven on the offensive glass — and went 3-for-3 from the floor.
After two more crushing losses, the Bulldogs are still looking for a way out of their season-long misery, and with three weekends left, they are gearing for a run that will hopefully leave the team on a positive note heading into the offseason.
“We have to keep battling, persevere and just go at it,” Backus said. “It’s the second time around the league now, so we know what to expect. We’re snake bit right now, but you’ve got to believe that these lessons will pay off. It just might be next year, and not this year, because we’re running out of time.”